The Difference Between Victory and Defeat is Often Quite Small


Every accomplishment begins with the decision to try but it’s the continual effort which drives us toward that goal.  As leaders, it is our responsibility to continually encourage our colleagues to maintain the high level of effort required to reach the team’s goals.  Though it can be hard to convince people to keep pushing forward, to not give up, I’m reminded of Napoleon Hill’s words: “Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.”

Below are some thoughts/facts which I refer to whenever I feel the desire to give up.  They are from S.L. Parker’s “212, the extra degree.”

  • In the 10-year period between 1997 and 2006 the average margin of victory in the Daytona 500 was just .175 seconds.  The additional prize dollars for first place: 60%.
  • The average margin of victory between 1982 and 2006 (25 years) in all tournaments on the PGA tour was less than three strokes – less than a one stroke difference per day.
  • During the 2004 Summer Olympics, the margin of victory between a gold medal and no metal was .06 seconds in the Women’s 800 Meter (running); 28 centimeters in the Men’s Long Jump and only 3 centimeters in the Women’s Long Jump.

Peter Brook once said, “Never stop.  One always stops as soon as something is about to happen.”  The next time you sense that you, or your colleagues, may be close to stopping, remind them of the facts above.  Let them see that often it’s a small effort that makes the biggest difference.

  1. Love your observation!! Thanks for this Christopher! :)

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